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Monday, October 24, 2016

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned Washington on Monday to brace for retaliation if U.S. forces attacked his war-torn country, as he denied using chemical weapons against his people.

“You’re going to pay the price if you’re not wise. There are going to be repercussions,” Assad told CBS’s This Morning. “It’s an area where everything is on the brink of explosion. You have to expect everything.”

He also warned of the risks of possible chemical attacks by rebels or “terrorists” if there was outside intervention in Syria.

Assad spoke in what CBS called his first interview since President Barack Obama asked Congress for approval to use military force to punish Assad for his regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons in a deadly attack last month.

“You should expect everything… The government’s not the only player in this region. You have different parties, different factions, different ideologies. You have everything in this decision now,” Assad said.

Assad denied his forces carried out a deadly chemical weapons attack on August 21 on the outskirts of Damascus, as alleged by the United States and some of its allies.

“How can you talk about what happened if you don’t have evidence?” he said in the interview, in which he spoke English. “We’re not like the American administration, we’re not like the social media administration or government. We’re the government that deals with evidence.”

Assad said that his forces had themselves in fact been attacked by rebels using chemical arms.

“But in the area where they say the government used chemical weapons, we only have video and we only have pictures and allegations. We’re not there. Our forces, our police, our institutions don’t think this,” Assad said.

Asked whether the repercussions he predicted could include the use of more chemical weapons, Assad replied: “That depends. If the rebels or the terrorists in this region or any other group have it, it could happen. I don’t know. I’m not a fortune teller to tell you what’s going to happen.”

President Barack Obama will on Tuesday address Americans from the White House to discuss intervention in Syria, ahead of a possible Senate vote on authorizing force against Assad’s regime later this week.

Secretary of State John Kerry, who testified before a the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week seeking its support for military action, said Monday that Assad could avert an attack by giving up his chemical weapons.

But Kerry said he had no expectation Assad would do this.

Video from the interview is below, via CBS News:

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • daniel bostdorf

    There will be no retaliation by Russia, Chine or Iran. It is not in their collective best interests to provoke this any further escalation as it means we will shut down the Straight of Hormuz and other vital ports that these countries need.

    Assad needs to surender his chemical weapons imemdiately.

    Assad also needs to step down and allow the UN to broker a demilitarized zone in Syria to get Assad out, and a governing council established for reconciliation.

    Russia to push Syria to surrender chemical weapons.

    see breaking newws at A.P.

    • TZToronto

      I’m not so sure if military action is such a good thing. I discount Assad’s assertions because he has a huge skin the game. However, as we’ve seen in Lebanon and elsewhere, this is not a simple situation. In the past (up to WWII), the U.S. was clear about who it was fighting, but even the Korean War involved Chinese troops fighting alongside the North Koreans. Vietnam was the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese–except when the “friendly” Vietnamese during the day became the enemy at night. Gulf War I was fairly simple, but the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts have been equivocal–who’s a friend, and who’s a foe? In Syria, who knows what will happen if the Assad regime is deposed? Who will fill the power vacuum? Who are the rebels? There is a lot that is unknown, and while we’d like to believe that the “evil Assad” gassed his own people, do we really know for sure? Is there a “third party” involved in Syria, another group that is taking advantage of the civil war there to create a new terrorist state? It wouldn’t be the first time a “false flag” was used to create a crisis. (I’m not saying the U.S. was involved in the chemical attack, but a third malevolent actor could be involved.)

      • daniel bostdorf

        The specific issue pertains to the 2013 Assad, NOT Korea, Iraq conflicts 1&2, or Afghanistan or anything else.

        With Russia’s pushing Syria to surrender chemical weapons makes this a game changer and could possibly make “military action” a moot point. I, too, want that.

        Let us wait for how this plays out now.

        As I stated before:
        “Assad also needs to step down and allow the UN to broker a demilitarized
        zone in Syria to get Assad out, and a governing council established for

      • Independent1

        We may never know positively if Assad did it unless he’s captured and finally admits to it, but there’s a pretty strong smoking gun that points to at least the Syrian troops doing it. And as Obama has pointed out, if the world lets Syria get away with using chemical weapons with no punishment for it, what will stop other despots in the world from doing the same thing to their people.
        It’s really a troubling situation. What I would be for, are targetted air or missle strikes that disable the Syrian air forces ability to operate (and possibly drop moe sarin bombs) and disabling some of their missle capabilities which could also include more sarin. Personally, I think these strikes could be done without getting into a great deal of conflict.
        But here’s the smoking gun:

        1) From 2004 through 2010 some British companies sold sodium flouride, the ingredient needed to create Sarin gas to Syria. Here’s an excerpt from an RT news article on that:

        Between July 2004 and May 2010, the British government issued five export licenses to two companies, allowing them to sell Syria sodium fluoride, necessary for the production of sarin, according to a report in the Daily Mail, a British daily.

        2) On 12/5/12, NBC news published this report about Syrian forces loading Sarin gas into aerial bombs that could be dropped by their planes:

        By Jim Miklaszewski and M. Alex Johnson, NBC News

        Updated at 8:20 a.m. ET: The Syrian military is prepared to use chemical weapons against its own people and is awaiting final orders from President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials told NBC News on Wednesday.

        The military has loaded the precursor chemicals for sarin, a deadly nerve gas, into aerial bombs that could be dropped onto the Syrian people from dozens of fighter-bombers, the officials said.

        3) German surveilance ships have reported recently intercepting communications between the Syrian troops and Assad’s residence pleading for Assad to let them use the Sarin gas.

        Here’s excerpts from a Reuters article:

        § BERLIN (Reuters) – Syrian government forces may have carried out a chemical weapons attack close to Damascus without the personal permission of President Bashar al-Assad, Germany’s Bild am Sonntag paper reported on Sunday, citing German intelligence.

        Syrian brigade and division commanders had been asking the Presidential Palace to allow them to use chemical weapons for the last four-and-a-half months, according to radio messages intercepted by German spies, but permission had always been denied, the paper said.

        This could mean Assad may not have personally approved the attack close to Damascus on August 21 in which more than 1,400 are estimated to have been killed, intelligence officers suggested.

  • daniel bostdorf

    We now have Syria welcoming a call from
    Putin…Assad wants to put Syria’s chemical arsenals under UN
    international control….then… destroy them. No military action.

    Read here: